The article we read describes the interesting phenomenon of the effects of emotions and performance. The experimenters found that when presented with negative visual simuli, the subjects performed less accurately than those who were presented with positive stimuli. In my mind, I began to think how this may implicate the work that we do as coaches and sport psychology consultants.
As coaches, the most obvious implication is to help maintain the athlete’s positive affect. This may be achieved through pleasant interactions with them. This may seem counterintuitive to coaches’ traditional approach of using negative stimuli, like yelling and punishment, to get their athletes “pumped up”. Nevertheless, the research have shown that positive motivational techniques are more effective in the long run to get athletes to perform optimally. Hence, we see that positive affect is positively related to optimal performance.
As sport psychology consultants, arousal regulation and energy management may be one of our most effective tools to help athletes of all levels to raise their game. Most of the time, an athlete’s inappropriate arousal and energy levels are due to the inability to manage emotions. It is our duty to help athletes to manage the high emotional fluxes that they will experience before, during, and after performance.